Boeing’s tanker spokesman has denied a press report that the company may not submit a bid in the Air Force’s KC-X tanker contest out of concern that it could not prevail against an unfairly subsidized EADS or might not make a profit under the Pentagon’s fixed-price tanker contract. “We definitely intend to bid for what we consider an honor, which is to replace the Air Force’s KC-135 fleet,” Bill Barskdale told the Seattle Post Intelligencer. His comments came after a press report surfaced May 14 claiming that Boeing executives were debating whether to submit a proposal, given those challenges. Meanwhile, Sean O’Keefe, head of North American operations for rival EADS, said his company doesn’t need a major US-based partner to make its KC-X bid viable. “We are completely satisfied with the team we have,” he said, Bloomberg news wire service reported May 14. (Post Intelligencer report)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.